GF&P eyes East River bobcat seasonThe South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department will consider creating a bobcat hunting season for all or parts of East River if public support can be found for the idea.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
SPRINGFIELD — There could be some bad news for bobcats making their home east of the Missouri River in South Dakota.
The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department will consider creating a bobcat hunting season for all or parts of East River if public support can be found for the idea.
“Before we just jump in with both feet, we want some input from the public,” said Todd Crownover, a conservation officer in Bon Homme County.
Though nothing has been decided officially, Crownover said the possibility of a bobcat season east of the Missouri River is being explored by the GF&P.
He explained how the season could be structured.
“We could have a month-long season where everybody gets one and it closes after 30 days,” Crownover said. “Or, we could have one a person and have a quota, so once that number is reached, the season closes.”
The idea to have a bobcat season in the East River region came about after a study by GF&P and South Dakota State University revealed more bobcats were living in the region than previously thought.
Crownover said he had reason to believe the public would be interested in the idea. “I expect we’re going to have people that want a season, but they won’t want to overdo it,” he said. “We have more cats than we thought, but on the other hand, we know that’s limited by the amount of habitat.”
Eastern South Dakota has less suitable habitat for bobcats than western South Dakota and Nebraska, but Crownover said that has not hindered him from finding them in the eastern part of the state.
“We found out they were easy to trap,” Crownover said. “We were catching two at a time in my traps.”
The GF&P held a public meeting Tuesday night in Springfield to take input from the public on the idea.
A similar meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at the NFAA Easton Archery Complex in Yankton.
This year’s bobcat season west of the Missouri River is already under way. It began Dec. 10 and will run until sunset Feb. 15.